Browsing articles in "SEO Blog"

Why Infographic Links Might Soon Be a Waste of Time for SEO

Jul 14, 2012   //   by AmandaD   //   SEO Blog  //  18 Comments

It is no surprise that Infographics are quickly becoming one of the most popular ways for a website to display information. It can sometimes be tough to find readers patient enough to understand a very confusing topic, and it can be even more difficult to capture a reader’s attention—especially when the subject matter is dry or boring. This is where infographics come perfectly into play. According to researchers, about 87% of people who saw an infographic read the accompanying text while only 41% read the text of a traditional page of content.

In terms of SEO, infographic links have always been given the same weight as links found in an article. And why shouldn’t they be? After all, infographics also use information that needs to be cited, and they serve a very similar purpose as traditional articles. So what’s the problem with these links in relation to SEO? The problem is that Google isn’t sure if holding these links to the same standard as other backlinks is the best idea.

What Cutts Is Saying about Infographic Links

In an interview with Eric Enge and SMX Advanced, Cutts explained that Google is thinking about discounting links that come from infographics. This threw everyone for a loop because many companies are just now beginning to ramp up their infographic tactics. Cutts didn’t say that Google is doing this now, but he had a few reasons that suggest it’s something Google will likely consider for the future:

  • Fact checking is often poor when it comes to infographics.
  • People don’t always know what they are linking to when they republish an infographic. They might not mean to endorse that link; they might just like the way the infographic looks.
  • Links are often embedded into infographics in a way that people don’t even notice. In other words, even if someone were to look at the links before republishing, they might miss it completely.

Once the facts are laid out, many experts agree that it was only a matter of time before something like this was coming. People have slowing been beginning to create spammy infographics and distributing them all across the web. Something has to be done in relation to SEO.

Are Infographics Still Worth Your Time?

Now for the real question: Are infographics still worth it for webmasters? Most industry leaders agree that infographics are still worthwhile; however it’s probably not best to put your entire SEO strategy on infographics alone. Try to use a variety of SEO tactics and be careful about the links you use in your infographics.

Infographics are still eye catching and can still express information clearly, just make sure that your information is correct. You can learn more about how to create a successful infographic here as well as some of the elements that go into a successful infographic.

Do you think Matt Cutts and Google are on the right track as they consider discounting infographic links? Will this deter you from producing infographics? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

Photo Credit: psfk.com

AmandaD

Amanda DiSilvestro gives small business and entrepreneurs SEO advice ranging from keyword density to recovering from Panda and Penguin updates. She writes for Highervisibility, a nationally recognized SEO firm that offers online marketing services to a wide range of companies across the country.

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How Your Business Can Take Advantage of Google+ Local

Jul 9, 2012   //   by AmandaDi   //   SEO Blog  //  24 Comments

Google’s social networking site Google+ is quickly becoming a one-stop shop for individuals and businesses trying to improve their brand.  While connecting with others and promoting content is key to taking advantage of Google+, the site offers many more advantages including search engine ranking factors, +1s, and of course Google+ Local.

For those who are unfamiliar, Google+ Local took the place of Google Places just a few weeks ago and can be found by clicking a “local” tab on a Google+ page. This new tab will allow users to easily find local listings right from the social networking site. If your company already has a Google Places page, it will be automatically switched to a Google+ Local page. In other words, it is extremely important to understand how this new page works to make sure you’re taking full advantage of the new system.

Understanding the Google+ Local Changes  

First, the Google+ Local tab as well as the listing will have a different format. Users will be able to click the tab and then type in a search query and location for easy browsing. All of the results show up with a large picture and an overall score. Below is a screenshot that shows the local tab on the left hand side and the search bar at the top:

Second, Google+ Local has included Zagat scores to help you determine the quality of the listing according to those who have experienced the local spot or service. Zagat scores are shown as actual numbers as opposed to stars and allow users to rate different aspects of the business. For example, someone may want to give a retail store a good score for customer service but a bad score for quality of clothing. The scores are calculated on a 30-point scale and then averaged for users to see. The screenshot below shows the overall score of a restaurant as well as the individual scores that users gave the business:

Third, Google+ local pages will show up whenever you’re using Google search or Google maps. Although this may not seem significant, it makes a company’s Google+ Local listing page even more important. Zagat scores will also show up when completing a search.

What Does This Mean for Businesses?

In terms of optimization, companies do not need to change much. Keywords and great pictures are even more important with the new listings, but ultimately it is a Google+ presence that will really give a company visibility. Below are a few things that a company should do to get started taking advantage of Google+ Local:

  1. Google+ Profile – Companies need to have a Google+ profile set up in order for Google+ Local to work. You can visit here to get started.
  2. Claim Listing – A company will need to claim their local listing and make sure all of the information is correct. This is free to complete and only takes a few minutes. If you don’t already have a business page to claim, this link makes it easy to set one up.
  3. Categories – Adding categories to your local page will help users narrow down your business into the correct niche.

As a whole, getting started with Google+ local is extremely simple. Although there have been mixed reviews about the Zagat ratings, most companies do agree that Google+ Local pages are intuitive and easy to read. By bringing these pages onto a platform where people feel comfortable, it only makes sense that more and more users will begin to go to Google+ local when searching. Only time will tell!

Have you used Google+ Local or found success through the new platform? Do you think Zagat reviews will help or hurt Google+ Local? Let us know in the comments!

AmandaDi

Amanda DiSilvestro is a graduate of Illinois State University. Although she graduated with an English Education degree, she found herself working as a full-time blogger in the SEO/social media department at HigherVisibility SEO, a leading franchise SEO company.

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Funny Friday: 3 Reasons Guest Blogging is Awesome for SEO

Jul 6, 2012   //   by Pete Wise   //   guest blogging, SEO Blog  //  19 Comments

No matter how hard you try to avoid it, if you want to do SEO, you’ll eventually have to come face to face with the fact that content is necessary. One of the best ways to build links to your site is through guest blogging; which is a simple process. You write an article that is published on another blog for free; the payment you receive in return for writing the article is a link back to your site.

Usually, you want to create some context for the link by writing about a related topic, which can be tedious and in all honesty, boring. Today, right now, I’ve decided something monumental; screw that noise, I’m going to write about why sometimes, if you choose to throw caution to the wind, guest blogging kicks ass.

My attempt here is to create a satire about guest blogging, but believe me that there is some useful information within the allegory. Please, do me a favor and share this; it’s on you, dear readers, to prove that an article like this can indeed do well!

Plus, sometimes we all get so caught up in the SERP chase that we forget to slow down and have a bit of fun. Hopefully you can learn a bit of something, and have a laugh this Friday, courtesy of me and SEM-Group!

 

Reason 1: Artistic License

 

Look it up if you must, but artistic license means one thing: I can make up whatever I want, call it art, and its 100% ok.

This is a fairly obvious point, because sometimes, you have to write about something that is just so monumentally draining that you have to throw in a couple of curve balls to keep people awake.  With that, lets transition to when this principal is generally used, allegory.

In 2007, the mortgage bubble collapsed because the sub-prime mortgage crisis. Basically, many mortgages that had no chance of being paid off were combined with low risk mortgages and sold as a moderate risk investment to people who buy those things. It got to the point where imaginary money was generating imaginary money, which was then used to back more mortgages that couldn’t possibly be paid off.

Eventually, all of this unsustainable spending did what it was apt to do, collapse. In 2008, Pete Wise was elected as supreme emperor-chancellor-minister-king (S-E-C-M-K) of the stock market, saw this impending doom, and was far too busy swimming in pools bursting with imaginary money to do anything about it. When it really started hitting the fan, he was prompted by his S-E-C-M-K computer to do something about it; I was given two options.

1)   Help the Situation by implementing a sound fiscal strategy

2)   Delete Everything

Sadly, whoever had appointed me to this position didn’t read the fine print of my employment contract, which clearly stated that if ever given the option to delete everything, I have to accept. So, true to form, I deleted everything, immediately headed to 7-11 to get a burrito, and went home to have a nap. That is why the stock market crashed.

That is my artistic interpretation.

See that last bit, in bold and underlined? That makes all of that totally OK, and this is one reason why guest blogging can sometimes rule. You’re welcome politics, that entire recession, is all on me now.

 

Reason 2: Having Fewer Reasons in the Article than the Title Advertises

 

When guest blogging, sometimes you find that you decided on a topic to write about before you actually sit down to write it. You basically cover everything you wanted to in a fewer number of points than you originally promised. When this happens, you are left with a couple of options; you can revise the title, or you can forge on ahead and try to find another reason to add to the article to satisfy the title you’ve already chosen. Since this article is a satire of guest blogging in general, I’m sure its clear what I’ve chosen.

The reason that you have to choose a number is pretty simple; list-type articles do quite a bit better on social media than articles of most other kinds. In an effort to drive up social markers for articles, content marketers follow trends. Websites like Cracked.com generate top-X type lists almost exclusively, and get thousands of Facebook likes within a day. If you don’t believe me, here a screenshot of an article published TODAY, by a writer on their site.

Social Metrics we Dream Of!

Content Marketers dream of creating that sort of buzz, and rarely, such as the case of Larry Kim ruining the Facebook IPO, it happens. Far more often, we do our best to scrape every Like, +1, Stumble, and Tweet we can for our clients. We love doing it because SEO is honestly one of the most interesting fields to work in. Sometimes, we have to let loose, and that’s when you get articles just like this one!

 

Reason 3: Lying About the Number of Points in Sub-Categories, and Bad Grammar

 

Simple, because I can. Also, this usually happens because you think of something pertinent while writing the article that you want to share. I also know that I’ve switched between first person and third person in this article enough times to make the grammar-sensitive among us cringe. I’m sorry, but this is my party, so deal with it.

 

Reason 4: Because Unique Content is King


At the end of the day, the bottom line is simple. With every algorithm implementation, it is becoming more and more clear that search engines want to see websites create unique content that engages the reader. Keyword stuffing, cloaking, density, and anchor-text optimization are quickly becoming things of the past.

More and more, it seems to me that SEO needs to emulate the marketing strategies of brick-and-mortar businesses. Penguin more-or-less confirmed this for me, when it became important to have a link profile balanced between branded links and anchor text links. We all saw examples of sites that had over-optimized for a particular term become penalized, and some sites that had built links for those same keywords dropped off the SERPS entirely.

The message is clear, content is what Google wants to see. Far too often over the past 5 years I’ve heard complaints from my clients about how they have an awesome site, with a ton of content that is unique, but are being outranked by more spammy sites. We longed for the days that search engines would punish those that gamed the system and rewarded those that tried to make a website that truly engaged its users.

That day has arrived, and as guest bloggers, we couldn’t be happier. Above all other reasons stated in this article, this is why guest blogging is awesome for SEO. Do what Google wants and create good content, and you will be rewarded!

Pete Wise

Pete Wise is a White-Hat SEO Jedi and SEM Analyst. An ultra-statistical SEO, he spends his days with Magento On-Site optimization, Google Places Management, Social Media Engagement, Link-Building, and Content Writing. He worked at Customer Paradigm until July 2012, whom employ the most experienced Magento Developers on the web!

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3 Link Building Shortcuts That Can Send Your Campaign Straight To Hell

Jul 5, 2012   //   by Julie Joyce   //   SEO Blog  //  23 Comments

When I was a kid, I’d always roll my eyes when my dad decided that he was going to try a new shortcut to get somewhere. Usually it meant driving through loads of backroads in desolate areas where the only signs of life were deer lurking by the side of the road just waiting to jump in front of our big station wagon.  We’d never actually be lost, but it would take us an hour to get to a place that was originally just 10 miles away from where we started. We’d definitely see cool stuff, and I’ll never forget seeing the little volleyball play area where, if the ball got away from you, you’d have to run through some old tombstones to find it. Fun times!

Link shortcuts are no different. They might look appealing, they might appear as if they’ll save you time, and they might be really, really fun. I’ve been guilty of taking them and many of you have too, and as busy as we all are, it’s only natural that we do try and save time whenever possible. The problem with link shortcuts, though, is that not all of them will do much more than create more agony for you in the future. To be fair, some are fantastic and some work really well for certain people. Some people consider certain things to be shortcuts whereas others see them as legitimate ways to build sustainable links. In considering all of this, I’ve tried to come up with just three shortcuts that I personally view as sub-optimal.

1. Considering rankings before, or in place of, traffic.

While it’s true that rankings are affected by links (and other things, remember, please please remember this) it’s not a good idea to only view links as being a way to make you rise to the top of the SERPs. Ever noticed how many fluctuations there are? If you get caught up in rankings, you’ll go crazy when you drop from number 5 to number 7, and even if it lasts for a day, there’s 24 hours of stress that you don’t need.

I do completely realize that for some sites, the difference in Google positions can indeed mean a massive loss of profit, and obviously if you’re in that boat, of course you need to consider rankings. I am also not saying that rankings aren’t important, only (remember) that building links to boost rankings is not as effective a long-term strategy as building links to boost traffic.

You know one really easy way to not get caught up in this? Don’t focus on metrics alone. If you find a great, relevant site that has regular posts, good social traction with relevant comments, and it’s a PR 0? Go for it. That PR 5 site in a completely unrelated niche, the one with content last updated 2 years ago…that might not be your best bet for traffic.

2. Copying the profile of a competitor.

This tactic has always really bothered me, as it’s based on the overly-simplified assumption that if something works for one site, it will work for you. It’s just not usually true. Looking only at a competitor’s backlink profile tells you nothing about the site itself. Maybe the site has amazing content and is being promoted very well on social media accounts that reach a massive amount of targeted users. Maybe the user experience on the site is off the charts amazing, maybe they offer great discounts to people who sign up for their email list, maybe they just have a better brand than you do. If you look at their links only, you cannot tell any of this. You cannot ignore on-page SEO, even if you’re doing what’s usually a mostly off-page method.

I do think that competitive analysis is very worthwhile…I just don’t think that you can copy a profile, only seek links from the same sites that link to your competitor, and get the same results. Even if you could do that, what happens when they change something? Do you change too, and keep following them around, or do you develop your own method of building links? I’d much rather do my own thing than copy someone else. That’s why I’ve always had bangs, worn boots that people make fun of (hello Uggs), and have never been afraid to play some Salt-N-Pepa on the jukebox.

3. Not fully vetting a site before approaching them for a link.

You can’t control who links to you (although you can disavow them in Bing! Bless their little hearts) but if you’re actively pursuing links by asking for them, don’t just ask anyone. Until fairly recently, I truly did not believe that crappy links could hurt you. I thought they might not help you, but that was before Google started warning webmasters and showing us that yes, bad links could harm you. If you’re going to approach a site and ask for a link, check it out thoroughly before you do. If it’s full of poorly written and useless content, if it’s changed hands 10 times in the last few years, if it’s clearly there just to host links…don’t bother. Go buy a Dickens book cover so people don’t realize you’re reading Fifty Shades of Gray or The Da Vinci Code.

And oddly enough, here’s something that can sometimes be the last thing you notice…really poor writing. I don’t mean poor writing like the afore-mentioned books (and for the record I have not read about Mr Gray nor shall I but I did read Dan Brown and am still taking antibiotics for it), I mean writing that is obviously the result of either cranking out nonsense just to fill up space or reworded and respun content. You should actually read a post on a blog you want to approach and not just think “oh wow, they have a lot of headlines about Kraftwerk and the site has some robots on it, I think, or maybe they’re dogs” because let me tell you, not paying attention to something as fundamental as the quality of the content on the site can bite you in the bum, big-time.

To summarize (which is kind of a shortcut really), don’t do these things unless you’re happy cleaning up messes and chasing something that you can’t catch. To be fair there are cases where people are perfectly happy just kind of flying blind on link building, and they do enjoy success with it. If you’re that guy, go for it. If you’re not (like most of us) then do try and figure out how to make things easier of course, but realize that some shortcuts just aren’t worth taking.

I’d love to hear examples of what you guys think are both good and bad shortcuts, so chime in if you can!!

Julie Joyce

Julie Joyce runs Link Fish Media, a custom link building agency located in Greensboro, NC. She is also a founding member of the SEO Chicks and regularly blogs for several industry websites. She enjoys tacos more than she should. Follow her on Twitter and Google+ to learn more.

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The Standoff: SEO vs. PPC or BOTH

Jul 4, 2012   //   by Alexis Thompson   //   blogging, internet marketing, keyword research, pay per click, SEO  //  10 Comments

The prevailing question among marketing professionals and businessmen right now is how to effectively market their products to their target consumers through the internet. Both Organic SEO and Pay-Per-Click (PPC) give companies the opportunity to advertise their brand and products online. In this article, we will discuss whether SEO, PPC, or a fusion of both will be most appropriate for your business requirements.

SEOOrganic SEO

Organic Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is basically the practice of improving website traffic through White-hat SEO techniques, which allow your website to figure prominently whenever search engines turn-in the search results made by internet users. Some White-hat SEO techniques include putting more meat on content and placing more quality backlinks on the website. All of these tactics are done without violating the terms of service that the search engine has set.

PPC

One of the most popular forms of marketing done on the internet today is called Pay-Per-Click (PPC). It is an advertising model wherein companies pay website owners a specific amount of money for every click that their advertisement gets from internet users who visit the website. Advertisers would craft their own set of keywords that reflect their target market and the products that they offer. Whenever internet users would key-in words similar or related to those keywords, the website and the advertisement would most likely come up in the search results. PPC can also be used to increase traffic for a website.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Both

SEO

An inherent advantage of the use of SEO is that it comes at a lesser cost, or even at no costs at all, compared with PPC. Unlike PPC, the success of SEO fully lies on the effective implementation and execution of SEO techniques and methods to improve a website’s visibility. Furthermore, another advantage of SEO is that it becomes more beneficial as time passes. Over time, a website can continue to accumulate quality backlinks. These will have positively affect website visibility significantly and the effect would remain so long as the links are there.

However, the use of SEO also has its own disadvantages. First, it takes time for your website to become visible. A day or two may improve the ranking of a website, but such a short period of time is insufficient to push its ranking to the top spots. There is no guarantee of how long it will take for a website to become really visible to internet users, but it usually takes six months to one year. ­Second, there is risk in SEO. The internet is a world full of different kinds of SEO practioners and some of them use black-hat and unethical SEO techniques. You never know when they will strike, but these people have the potential to destroy your brand and credibility to consumers.

PPC

As for PPC, results and progress come in pretty fast. Rankings improve quickly. It is also pretty easy to start a PPC campaign online. Moreover, the better positions your ad gets from search engine results increases the effectiveness of your marketing campaign. Typically, ads are put on top, the right side, or below the search engine results. In addition to these, another advantage of PPC is that it allows you to focus your campaign on certain regions, countries and regions. Furthermore, PPC gives you the freedom to manage and edit the keywords you have previously set any time.

Pay per click The most alarming disadvantage of PPC is that it comes at a great cost. Overtime, the costs will begin to pile up and your company may end up spending too much money on PPC. Furthermore, traffic is totally reliant on the money you pour into PPC. Once funding stops, traffic disappears into thin air almost instantly.

A thorough examination of the qualities and advantages and disadvantages of PPC would lead to the conclusion that a mixture of both would be best. Starting with PPC, then slowly switching to Organic SEO would help you maximize the results that you can achieve. Timing is always an important factor in advertising. When you need to send an important message to your consumers, it might be best to use PPC for a short period of time instead of relying completely on the slower Organic SEO. But, complete reliance on PPC may hurt your company’s resources. The use of both advertising methods also allows you to effectively manage and lessen the costs that you will incur without sacrificing the quality of the results.

Overall, internet marketing is an art. It requires crafty manipulation and employment of advertising frameworks such as Organic PPC and SEO to reach your target consumers and maximize the effectiveness of your advertising campaign.

Alexis Thompson

Alexis Thompson is an alumna from Martin College Australia, a former Mountain Backpacker and a 26 year old mother of 2 daughters, Sophie and Rhian. She is into almost all types of Music especially The Fray and Hillsong. She also has a passion in Singing and Scrap Booking. Follow her escapades on her Twitter.

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Why Quora Can Work for Your Business

Jul 2, 2012   //   by AmandaDi   //   SEO Blog  //  8 Comments

If you’re an entrepreneur or someone hoping to break into the world of business, you’re going to have a lot of questions. You can go to school for four years and pick the brains of your professors and spend all night doing homework in the library, but you’re still going to have questions. This is true with any profession, and most will tell you that finding the answers to these questions aren’t always easy. It’s intimidating to ask your boss a question that you may think should be obvious, and Google doesn’t always do the trick. Fortunately, Quora is beginning to take the world of questions by storm.

For those who are unfamiliar, Quora is a social networking site that centers around asking and answering questions. These questions go from very specific to simple wonders. Below are the other two Internet avenues that one can take and some of the reasons Quora can often offer better:

  • Google – This works well when you want to know the answer to a simple question, but nothing too specific. If you’re having a complex problem and want an answer, Google may give you something complex.
  • Wikipedia – Anyone can add information to a Wikipedia webpage, and in most cases you have no idea where the information came from. With Quora, you know exactly who gave the answer to your question.

Former CTO of Facebook, Adam D’Angelo, created Quora back in 2009. This helped the site gain popularity quickly and helped draw some of the top professionals in every industry to take notice. Unfortunately, even though Quora has been popular for some time, businesses are STILL ignoring this network. For some reason, Quora is not considered a part of the “major” social networks—Facebook, Twitter, and Google+—for most, but it should be.

Top 5 Benefits to Using Quora to Answer Your Questions

Quora brings in a lot of aspects found in other social networking sites, but also works in its own way to help bring users a great experience. Below are some of the features you can find with Quora:

1. Profile – If you want to answer a question on Quora, you must have a profile. This will help show users who is giving a specific answer; thus helping them determine whether they want to believe it.

2. Voting – Users can vote answers that they find most relevant or most correct. This allows the best answer to always remain at the top.

3. Revision – The site gives anyone the ability to make slight revisions to a question. These revisions are all tracked so you can see who made the revision. In the end, this helps keeps questions clear and easy to understand.

4. Related – The site is not filled with a bunch of similar questions. Questions that have already been asked will pop up when you type in a question so that you know what has already been discussed. It also works as a way to point you in the right direction of the answer to your question.

5. Following – You can follow people and/or questions to help you stay in the loop. This helps make the site seem smaller and helps to target exactly what you’re looking to find.

Companies use Quora as a way to increase their visibility and build their brand. By answering questions you can show potential customers or clients that you are an expert in your field. The more questions that you answer the better you will look in the eyes of users.

The site is also a great place to connect with others in the industry or future customers. By creating a great profile page you can show what you know and give users a way to find you and connect you to those brilliant answers.

Photo Credit: crunchbase.com

AmandaDi

Amanda DiSilvestro is a graduate of Illinois State University. Although she graduated with an English Education degree, she found herself working as a full-time blogger in the SEO/social media department at HigherVisibility SEO, a leading franchise SEO company.

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My Blog Guest Summer Blogging Contest: The Easiest Contest of the Year!

Jun 27, 2012   //   by AmandaDi   //   SEO Blog  //  6 Comments

Blogging contests usually involve countless hours of writing about a specific prompt or filling out paperwork that explains what makes your blog unique. While these contests are great and a great way to really get everyone analyzing the blogging industry, it’s nice to find an easier and faster contest during the summer. Fortunately, My Blog Guest granted this wish.

My Blog Guest is holding a summer guest blogging contest where you get free content and a chance to win $1000 cash. In other words, this is one of the easiest contests for blogs because you really don’t need to do anything that you aren’t already doing. The contest works like this:

  1. Go to the Articles Gallery and make an offer on an article (or several articles).
  2. If the author accepts, publish the article on your blog.
  3. Promote the article via social media.
  4. Post the article URL and the author’s username in this thread.

It’s hard to believe, but this is all you need to do. The contest is really about getting bloggers connected with authors and visa versa to help expand the blogging community. It gives blog owners great visibility from those who love the author, and it gives author the visibility for those who love the blog. In other words, there really are no losers in this contest.

How You Can Win 

So maybe there are no losers, but let’s be honest—there is a $1000 prize. Winning the grand prize comes down to three things: The social media sharing activity that is shown through the buttons on your blog, the comments, and if your blog is really helping the author gain exposure.

Being that these are the three things the contest will look for in a winner, it makes sense that the blog owner will need these three things. In other words, your blog must have Twitter and Facebook count buttons installed, the comment option must be available, and your blog must be a Google PR of 2 or higher.

Below are a few tips and tricks to help give you a chance at the grand prize:

  • Talk with the author. Many blog authors have a following of people who are interested in his/her writing. This will help bring traffic to your blog and will likely help that Twitter count go up. After all, the author also wants the post to do well, so he/she will be a great asset for you.
  • Nominate Multiple Guest Articles. There is no limit to the number of articles that a blog owner can take from the Gallery and publish. The most articles you publish, the better your chances are that one of them will win.

My Blog Guest has been in the business for quite some time, so there is no use trying to cheat by buying social media clicks, changing the publication date, or trying to share your prize in exchange for social clicks. The contest ends August 10, so get started right away!

You can learn more about the contest and rules and regulations here.

AmandaDi

Amanda DiSilvestro is a graduate of Illinois State University. Although she graduated with an English Education degree, she found herself working as a full-time blogger in the SEO/social media department at HigherVisibility SEO, a leading franchise SEO company.

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Internal vs. External Linking: Does the Difference Even Matter?

Jun 25, 2012   //   by AmandaDi   //   link building, SEO Blog  //  17 Comments

Most business owners who have even an elementary understanding of content online know that linking is important. However, what many do not realize is that there are many different kinds of linking, all of which have different benefits and different pitfalls.  The two most basic (but important) types of linking to understand is internal and external linking. This then begs the inevitable question: Do they differences really matter when it comes to SEO?

Internal Linking 101

When someone says “internal linking” they simply mean a link that navigates between different webpages of your website. This is a great way to keep people on your site as long as possible and gives you the opportunity to help them learn more about a given topic by looking through your site as opposed to heading somewhere else. It’s hard to get all the information you need in one article, so linking internally is a huge help. Consider some of the other benefits:

  • PageRank – Linking internally can help your page rank. This will help you move up to the top of search engine pages, so it can make a big difference when it comes to trying to improve the visibility of your brand. Although this doesn’t hold as much weight in terms of PageRank as someone else linking to your webpages, it doesn’t hurt.
  • Navigation – As discussed above, having internal links can help your customers navigate your webpage. Most experts recommend having the page open on the existing page so that people will stay on your site longer, but as a reader I always prefer when an internal link opens a new webpage. You could also consider installing breadcrumbs on your website for even easier navigation.
  • Index – Lots of internal links will help search engines classify your site quicker and more accurately. This could help readers find your site easier on search engines because it will help ensure that your site is indexed in the proper places.

The Know-Hows of External Linking

External links take readers from your website to another website. Although this may seem like a terrible idea, it can potentially have many benefits for both your company and your readers:

  • Credibility – Chances are your website does not gather its own data and facts. For this reason, you will want to link to websites in order to give them credit for the information you are using. This will help readers see where you get your facts; thus improving your credibility.
  • PageRank – Although linking to another site within your article will not help your PageRank, external linking will help if it is done to you. In other words, if another site is linking to your website, your PageRank will improve. Many websites utilize guest posting on other blogs—they offer free articles in exchange for what would be an external link back to their site.
  • Traffic – Your traffic will certainly increase if you have reputable sites linking back to your site. Not only will you show up more on a Google search page because of your PageRank, but you will have new sets of eyes looking at your website.

The most important thing to remember about linking is that the links should be relevant. Linking just for the sake of linking will not fools readers, and it will most certainly not fool Google. As long as you can link, both internally and externally, in a natural way, you will find that linking is a small way to make a huge difference.

Photo Credit: thinkgeek.com

AmandaDi

Amanda DiSilvestro is a graduate of Illinois State University. Although she graduated with an English Education degree, she found herself working as a full-time blogger in the SEO/social media department at HigherVisibility SEO, a leading franchise SEO company.

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When Is It Time to ____ In SEO?

Jun 18, 2012   //   by AmandaDi   //   SEO Blog  //  30 Comments

It seems like there are so many questions regarding timing when it comes to SEO. You can learn how to do something regarding SEO and you can learn why it matters and where it really matters, but your efforts won’t be nearly as successful if you don’t understand when to make the right move. After all, many aspects of business focus on timing—when to close the sale, when to make a purchase and file your taxes, when to launch a new product, when to discount a product, etc., and the SEO field is no exception. As the cliché saying goes, “timing is everything.”

Unfortunately, many companies do not realize that SEO also has a strategic timetable that helps it succeed. Because SEO is (believe it or not) still a fairly new aspect of business, many company owners complete crucial changes to their SEO campaign out of order.

Top 4 SEO Decisions Where Timing Really Matters

Below are some of the most crucial aspects of SEO that should only happen at certain points in your SEO campaign:

1. Target New Keywords

Most companies target a list of four to seven keywords where they hope to rank. Once your company has done its keyword research and determined which keywords don’t have much competition, it’s time for linking, sharing, linking, promoting, and some more linking. However, it is never a good idea for a company to target the same keywords over and over.

  • When to Target New Keywords – Your keywords should change when your content changes. There is no specific amount of time that you should wait before targeting new keywords, but in general it makes sense to target new keywords when you are at a standstill with your current set. If you are not moving up or down in rankings for your keywords, it might be time to change them.
  • What Happens If You Don’t – Targeting the same keywords for too long will begin to waste your time. Ranking for a keyword for a long time will be remembered by Google bots and will serve you well. People will continue to click on your article and link back to your website because it has been ranking for so long, so doing this work on your own won’t be as necessary. In other words, you would be missing out on opportunities to make this happen with another keyword.

It is also worth noting that you should, in general, swap out your keywords for your new keyword list. While it is okay to add a few keywords to your list, you shouldn’t think of your new keywords as “extras.” When it’s time to move on, move on and give your new list your full attention.

2. Hire an SEO Agency

Earlier this month SEM-Group wrote an entire post answering this very question, but it is something that still seems to get people nervous. Hiring anyone is a nerve-racking process for a business owner because you want to hire the right person. Hiring an entire SEO agency to help is even more nerve-racking because it is more money, a lot is at stake, and you won’t quite know whether or not the agency is doing well until you’ve been paying them for a few months.

  • When to Hire an SEO Agency – The biggest indicator that it is time to hire an SEO agency is when you keep getting hit by Google Panda and Penguin updates and you don’t know why. These updates will kill your rankings if you are unprepared, and you have no choice but to recover if you’ve been hit. If you don’t know how to recover and can’t keep up with all of the changes, an SEO agency is crucial. SEO agencies usually also help manage your social media, so if you are finding that you just don’t have time to connect with others or do anything but your own promotion, it’s the right time to hire.
  • What Happens If You Don’t – Your website is sure to drastically drop in search engine rankings if you are unable to keep up with SEO. This will in turn affect your brand’s visibility, and in the majority of cases you will see your sales and overall success decrease.

3. Begin Guest Posting

Guest posting is a great way to earn backlinks to your website. This takes a good amount of time to make happen and often requires a company hire writers who understand SEO, so it’s a big decision. Nonetheless, guest posting is one of the ways that you can ensure that you are receiving the backlinks that you deserve. After all, if you can create great content for another website your website is likely full of great content—people just a need a little push in finding it.

  • When to Begin Guest Posting – Guest posting should become part of an SEO strategy once a website is ready. In other words, once your website is easy to navigate and has a good library of content and information, it’s time to start guest posting and building up some backlinks.
  • What Happens if You Don’t – Many sites do well when it comes to search engine rankings even without guest posting, but it generally takes longer. Guest posting is one aspect of SEO that you can really control.

4. File a Re-Consideration Request

Many sites find themselves losing rankings after a Google Penguin or Panda update, and many feel that the loss in rankings is unwarranted. If you think that your site was wrongly hit by one of the algorithm changes, you may want to submit a re-consideration request to Google.

  • When to File a Request – If you know that you have violated the guidelines or were hit with a spam issue you should always file your requests after you have cleaned up your site. It’s also a good idea to file a request if Google notifies you that something was wrong with your website (your website was hacked, etc.). Finally, if you really feel like nothing is wrong you can file a request.
  • What Happens if You Don’t – Your site will continue to drop in rankings until Google bots discover that your site has been cleaned up. If you don’t clean up your site and just assume that nothing is wrong, you will continue to drop in rankings.

The “when’s” in SEO have always been tricky, but doing things in order will help ensure that your SEO is at its best without any wasted time. SEO results take long enough to really see and really benefit from, so understanding the big picture will help save you time and energy.

Is there anything else that you’re unsure about when it comes to timing? Let me know in the comments and I would be happy to help!

Photo Credit: under30ceo.com

AmandaDi

Amanda DiSilvestro is a graduate of Illinois State University. Although she graduated with an English Education degree, she found herself working as a full-time blogger in the SEO/social media department at HigherVisibility SEO, a leading franchise SEO company.

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What’s a ‘CURATED’ Email Campaign?

Jun 13, 2012   //   by Obaidul Haque   //   internet marketing, SEO Blog  //  13 Comments

If you really believe that content curation is not just a buzzword but a marketing staple, you can also implement this idea in email marketing. Undoubtedly, a well planned email campaign can result in better conversions and generate repeat sales. It’s also an excellent way of collecting useful feedback and suggestions from your visitors or customers. In addition to all of these, email marketing can also do a great job to boost your offline purchases.

Email marketing works best only when it suits the needs of subscribers. But it’s sad to see emails that are nothing more than ‘pure promotion’. You might also have deleted a lot of emails delivered to your inbox simply because they sound like a self-interested bore.

Do we (the email marketers), therefore, need to change?

Of course! The word change points to a change in the mindset, the way we look at our email subscribers, the way we try to convince them to make a buying decision. The current situation of the internet marketing industry makes one thing very clear – ‘The more you sell, the less you sell’.

That’s exactly where the role of a ‘curated email campaign’ steps in. It’s really a powerful way of providing your email subscribers with something they don’t usually expect. It’s an idea to keep them well-informed, educated and entertained so that they start looking at you as a ‘niche expert’. It’s all about winning the trust and gaining the confidence of your email subscribers.

Aweber Communications (a popular email marketing company) published a comprehensive article on this topic on their blog. A curated email campaign creates ‘loyal subscribers’. Let’s find out how you can use this powerful technique to make your email campaigns come alive and keep your subscribers happy.

Getting Started
Start to work like a content curator. That means, you need to look for blog posts, articles, industry reports, case studies, videos and images that you think your email subscribers would love to read. You can find anything that’s relevant to your niche, interesting, entertaining and unique.

Once you’ve gathered all these nuggets, it’s time to piece them together to compile your weekly newsletter. Since subscribers are already pissed off with tons of marketing and promotional emails, a curated email campaign will work like a ‘freshner’. It will provide them with highly valuable content that they can actually use to their benefits. Though it’s an indirect technique of marketing, it works like magic to showcase your niche expertise and set yourself apart from your competitors pretty quickly.

Curated Content Has a ‘Narrow’ Focus
Curated email campaigns will work best for those who cater to a specific niche or type of business. If you serve a broader market or industry, content curation may not bring you the best results. If you focus on a particular aspect of your industry, you can discover all the most useful resources and compose them in the form of an email or weekly newsletter.

Small businesses can get the maximum out of a curated email campaign. In fact, any small business or home-based business or bloggers with a narrow focus can use this email marketing technique.

Act Now!
Whether you’re a small business owner or a blogger, you should start with curated email campaigns right away. Find out blogs that you read regularly to remain inspired. Search for current events that relate to your niche industry. Look for articles and videos that entertained you this week. Give your email subscribers something they weren’t expecting until now. Educate your audience. Keep them entertained. And be ready to see the magic!

Did you try the concept of curated content in your email campaigns yet? Please feel free to talk back in comments.

Obaidul Haque

Obaidul works as an SEO manager handling client projects. He focuses heavily on Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Social Media Marketing (SMM). Also a passionate blogger and freelance writer, he shares his insightful views regularly on HelloBloggerz . You can follow him on Google Plus or Twitter.

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